Yesterday I had the afternoon of and as I promised my grandmother to cook dinner at her place in Zoetermeer later that evening, I decided on some ordinary twitching in the Rotterdam-region!
Around 2 PM I arrived in an residential neighborhood in Vlaardingen, not the most idyllic place to go birding one would say, were it not for the third Oriental Turtle Dove (Oosterse/Meenatortel) for the Netherland making its wintering home here!
It took me barely 10 minutes to find this fabulous dove feeding among Eurasian Collared Doves (Turkse tortels) and Wood Pigeons (Houtduif) on a bird-table in someone’s back-garden. My gratitude goes out to the local resident pointing the bird out for me from behind his windowpane!
Oriental Turtle Dove
Oriental Turle Dove
My next stop was just a 5 minute drive away, again in – how surprisingly – a residential neighborhood. As with the dove it took me barely 10 minutes to find my target: a first winter Rose-colored Starling (Roze spreeuw). This bird that normally breeds around the Black Sea and winters in northwestern India and Pakistan, was seemingly right at home among its European counterparts wintering in these suburban gardens.
First winter Rose Colored Starling
Now I had two hours to kill before the Eurasian Hoopoe (Hop) would come into roost at the now famous willow-tree near Delfgauw, so what to do? I decided to have a go at a Cattle Egret (Koereiger) reported that morning along the A20, west of Gouda. Upon arrival I could only find a couple of sheep, but suddenly I saw a white head and neck popping out from a nearby ditch; BINGO!
Cattle Egret with a Grey Heron for comparison
I still needed that Hoopoe for the icing on the cake … I arrived at its roosting site around 4:30 PM. Around 5:30 PM – by this time there were about 10 people patiently waiting near the willow-tree – the bird suddenly flew in and gave some fantastic views in the twilights, before it went to roost on an old pigeons nest.
Eurasian Hoopoe, in the twighlights! By Garry Bakker
Just 40 minutes later I was cooking dinner at my grandmother’s in Zoetermeer!
This was one of my smoothest rarity-round-ups of all time, but I promise that next time I’ll do some proper birding again 😉